A man who pled guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison.
Adam Seth Perry, 24, Hillsboro, appeared in Highland County Common Pleas Court before Judge Rocky Coss and apologized to his two victims, who prosecutors said were ages 14 and 15 when Perry engaged in sexual contact with them.
Prosecution and defense agreed that the acts were consensual, but since the two juveniles were below the age of consent when the acts occurred, it was illegal.
Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins said Perry admitted to law enforcement that he is “drawn to younger people,” and that he is specifically attracted to young girls. Collins described the confession as “frankly very scary,” and asked the judge to sentence Perry to prison.
Attorney Bill Armintrout argued that Perry was cooperative with law enforcement through the investigation and even volunteered information.
Armintrout asked the judge to sentence Perry to probation and order him to complete a sex therapy program in which he was already enrolled.
Armintrout described Perry as a “polite young man,” adding that he was abused as a child.
“Let’s help this man,” said Armintrout.
There was some discussion as to whether Perry was at risk for reoffending when Armintrout presented to the judge a report from Perry’s doctor saying he was at low risk to reoffend if he underwent sex therapy.
But Coss said that report was from 2013, when Perry was found guilty of gross sexual imposition as a juvenile and before he committed the offense at hand.
Coss also said he has researched such disorders and found there is often a “high rate of recidivism” and treatment is rarely successful.
Coss added that while the crime was not rape and the acts were consensual, young people who engage in sexual activity often “develop issues,” and such acts begin a “cycle of continual problems.”
The judge also said Perry being abused was a “tragedy,” but that abuse is not an excuse for illegal behavior.
Coss sentenced Perry to 12 months on each of his two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor to run consecutive to one another for a total of two years.
Perry was taken into custody in the courtroom.
Also Wednesday, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper was allowed to enter an alternative sentencing program after pleading guilty to illegally accessing a law enforcement database.
Michael Hitchens, 30, Chillicothe, pled guilty to unauthorized use of a law enforcement database system, a fifth-degree felony, and at the suggestion of an OSHP investigator, Hitchens was allowed to enter the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office’s diversion program.
First-time, low-level offenders admitted into the program have the opportunity to have felony charges against them dismissed if they successfully complete the program, which can last a year or more depending on the progress of the individual.
According to Hitchens’ indictment, he unlawfully used the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway in February 2018.
Collins said Hitchens is a former highway patrol trooper.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.